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Geo-Frontiers 2011 ASCE 2011 263

Shaft Resistance of Piles in Normally Consolidating Marine Clay Subjected to


Compressive and Uplift Load

S.Nanda1 and N. R. Patra2, M. ASCE


1
Doctoral Research Scholar, Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of
Technology, Kanpur 208016, India Tel.: +91-9044973349, E-mail: satyan@iitk.ac.in
2
Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of
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Technology, Kanpur 208 016, India Tel.: +91-512-2597623; Fax: +91-512-2597395,


E-mail:- nrpatra@iitk.ac.in

ABSTRACT

This paper presents 24 test results on instrumented hollow tubular aluminum


close ended floating piles in laboratory to examine the mechanisms of load transfer
between the piles surface and normally consolidating marine clay. Hollow aluminum
tubes of 32mm external diameter and wall thickness of 1mm and length to diameter
ratio of 10, 20 and 30 were used as model single piles. Compression and pullout tests
were carried out at time periods of 0 to 6hr, 0 to 12 hrs, 0 to 18 hrs and 0 to 24hrs
from the time of installation. Multiple neutral planes are observed along the depth of
the pile, which is contrary to the present understanding of load transfer. The variation
of skin friction with respect to maximum shear strength of soil in undrained condition
is about 10 to 200 %. Design stipulations have been proposed based on model tests
findings.

INTRODUCTION

Piles in clay may be studied broadly in two situations, when soil is normally
consolidated/consolidating or medium overconsolidated, highly overconsolidated.
The philosophy behind this will be discussed later in this paper. In both the situation
soils are assumed to be saturated and pile is installed vertically. This paper refers to
first situation as soft soil. Soft soil occurs naturally on land and under water. This
type of soil forms due to sediment deposited and consolidated in river, lakes,
estuaries and offshore regions. This type of soil shows high pore water pressure and
the soil skeleton is extremely compressible (Been and Sills 1981). Due to
compressible nature of soft soil, consolidation occurs by self weight.
The installation of pile in clay influences the load carrying capacity and
variation in load carrying capacity with time. During installation the soil around the
pile gets disturbed (Gray 2008), although extend of remold or disturbance has been
varied with respect to type and condition of soil, pile material and type of installation.
When the pile installs in soft soil, the installation process completely remolds the soil
adjacent to pile (Miller and Lutenegger 1997). In general, these remolded soils
reconsolidate with time and move downward along the pile length (Fellenius 1972,
2006; Leung at al. 1991). Reconsolidation includes self weight consolidation and
radial consolidation. The downward movement of soil around the pile produces
additional vertical load on the piles and this is called as downdrag in pile. As
downdrag is related to the consolidation therefore it is a time dependant parameter

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(Fellenius 2006). Downdrag in pile normally considers as a settlement problem. The


downdrag load (distributed from top to bottom) on the pile is neutralized by the
upward force (distributed from bottom to top) due to toe resistance (Bozozuk 1971).
The positive upward resistance developed at the bottom of pile depends on the
stiffness of soil, soil resistance to penetration and load on pile. If the floating pile
installed in one layer of soft clay then the question comes to mind what would be the
load carrying capacity of pile and how downdrag affects its load carrying capacity.
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In this paper, the load carrying capacity of single pile in soft soil has been studied in
floating condition considering the time dependant behavior of pile, which directly
indicates the influence of downdrag.

DISTURBANCES DUE TO PILE INSTALLATION

The driving of piles in to saturated clay produces a zone of highly remolded


soil around the pile (ONeill 2001). Miller and Lutenegger (1997) were reported that
there was a complete remold of soil up to OCR of 4 and degree of disturbance or
remold of soil around the pile was deceased at OCR greater than 8. Karlsrud and
Haugen (1985) were reported the remolding of soil around the pile surface can occur
at higher OCR value and they observed substantial remolding of soil taken place at
the OCR value of 17. It is quite apparent from the above findings that to predict the
load carrying capacity of piles, it is essential to know the effect of installation and
subsequent changes in soil behavior.
Randolph et al. (1979) developed a model to predict installation effect by
using cylindrical cavity expansion with associate flow rule. Yu and Cater (2002)
developed rigorous closed form similarity solution for cavity expansion from zero
radius in cohesive friction soil using non-associative flow rule. Figure1 represents
the idealization of cavity expansion. At the binging of cavity expansion the stress is
distributed elastically. Further the stress is increased inside the cavity up to a certain
level which devolved plastic zone in the soil mass. Almost in all models pile
installation produces two typical zones in soil mass [i.e. plastic zone and elastic zone
(Figure 1.a)], but field observation indicates soils close to the pile wall undergo
complete remolded and reach to failure. The load carrying capacity of pile largely
depends on the pile response to soil just around the pile wall. Thus, it may be
concluded that instead of two zones there will be another zone which is close to pile
and lets name this zone as Residual zone as shown in Figure1.b.
When soil reaches its peak strength strains at certain location in a soil
specimen often localized which leading to shear band formation in a direction
diagonal to the principal stress direction (Mitchel and Soga 2005). The extent of
strain localization depends on soil properties, OCR value and deformation applied to
soil. Figure 2 shows the shear band in two different compressions strain. It has been
observed that with formation of shear band, the shearing resistance is continuously
decreasing and there will often reorientations of platy particles in to a direction
parallel to the direction of shearing with correspondingly increased face to face
interaction at the particle (Terzaghi et al. 1996). Void ratio and water content (closed
to liquid limit) are also increased along the shear band. In zone 3 (Residual zone),
the behavior of soil primarily depends on the extent of shear band formation. In case

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of soft soil the extent of shear band is high which leads to increase in water content,
void ratio and decrease in shear strength in to a large extent and then, the soil fabric is
completely destroyed and finally soil is remolded. This phenomenon has been
observed by Miller and Lutenegger (1997) and ONeill (2001). The behavior of soft
soil in residual failure zone may resemble to the behavior of moderate to high viscous
fluid flow. ONeill (2001) has found that the residual soil properties give better
prediction of pile behavior.
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Elastic Zone

Plastic Zone

Shear band
Pile
Pile

(At lower Strain) (At higher Strain)

Pseudofailure Zone

(a)
(b)

Figure 1. Expansion of cavity during pile installation Figure 2. Shear band


formation

DOWNDRAG

Downdrag is the pile settlement in response to remolded soil settling


vertically around the pile surface. The downdrag is not a bearing capacity problem
(Gary 2008; Briaud 1997) rather it is a settlement problem which depends on relative
settlement of pile and soil around the pile (Figure 3).
The neutral plane in Figure 3 may be defined as the point along the pile where
the settlement of the pile is equal to the settlement of the soil. Above the neutral plane
the soil moves downward more compare to pile and this is called downdrag or
negative skin fraction. The neutral plane is not necessarily a fixed point rather it
varies with time period (Fellenius 2006), load on pile and end bearing condition.
Neutral plane moves up ward when the load on pile increases and neutral plane
moves downward when the tip of pile penetrates in to hard strata (Bozozuk 1971).
Briaud (1997) recommended that the effects of downdrag can be reduced by bitumen
coating on the surface of pile but with certain criterion like viscosity of bitumen
compatible with temperature, bitumen must stay in place during driving, particle
penetration into bitumen layer. However, Fellenius (2006) reported 10 times
reduction in load carrying capacity of pile due to bitumen coating on the surface of
pile.

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Q Skin Friction
Settlement Load Negative Skin Friction PositiveSkin Friction

Depth of Pile
Soil Settlement
Negative
Shaft
Resistance Pile Settlement

Neutral Plane Neutral


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Neutral
Plane Plane

Positive
Shaft
Resistance

(a) (b) (c)


(d)

Figure 3. Pile settlement diagram with downdrag, Load distribution and


Positive - Negative skin friction

From above discussion it may be concluded that the soil condition at the pile
tip and the soil settlement contribute a major role in understanding of downdrag in the
pile. But when the floating pile is installed which has no end bearing consideration
then what will be the nature of load distribution along the length of the pile. The
present study has not included the direct measurement of downdrag rather it
emphasized the effect of downdrag on the load carrying capacity of pile with time
when soil is completely remolded.

EXPERIMENTAL METHOD USED


In case of pile install in soft clay the following observations are made from
the above discussion: (i) soil is completely remolded and looses its original soil
fabric, (ii) water content and void ratio are increased, (iii) soil as well as pile moves
vertically downward after installation of pile, (iv) methods used for calculation of
load carrying capacity of floating pile need to reexamine, (v) pile load carrying
capacity invariably depends on the condition of soil just around its surface.
In literature number of authors has carried out laboratory model testing on
piles in clay. Following points are needed attention regarding the procedure adopted
by pervious authors for model test viz (i) no control on soil remolding near pile
surface, (ii) the soil used was a processed one and not contained the particle size
distribution generally available in natural occurring soil, (iii) difficulty in attaining
uniform water content when fill tank was large in size, (iv) during Pile installation
number of small air packets along the length of pile occurred where no contact
between soil and pile exists. Normally the pile used in laboratory consists of few
centimeters in length. When air pockets of noncontact between the soil and the pile
are allowed in model test installation, the observed pile load carrying differs from
actual.
In this paper the method used for laboratory model tests has been reversed the
method used by previous authors. In this method pile installed inside the empty tank
and then highly disturbed soft clay applied precisely around the pile.

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EXPERIMENTAL SETUP AND TESTING PROGRAMME

The complete experimental setup consists of the following components;


model tank, foundation medium, model piles, pile cap, loading arrangement,
measuring devices (dial gauges, strain gauges with lead wires, strain indicator) and
ancillary equipments (Figure 4). Circular model tank of diameter 750 mm and height
1000 mm, made up of mild steel plate of 5mm thickness has been used in the present
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study. The size of the tank is designed in such a way that there will not be any
boundary effect on the pile or soil around the pile inside the tank. The clayey soil
obtained from Visakhapatnam (India) has been used as foundation medium. The soil
was collected between 10 to 15 m below the ground surface. The soil collection site
was situated on the shore of Bay of Bengal. The soil was brought from the field, then
dried and pulverized in the laboratory. The pulverized soil was thoroughly mixed
with desired amount of water by means of motorized soil mixture. The moist soil
from the mixture was placed in a layer of 50mm in the tank. Each layer was hand
packed and then pressed by hand to remove entrapped air and to ensure homogeneous
packing. The water content maintained in the test tank is 60% which is nearer to its
liquid limits i.e. 80%. The properties of the clayey soil are summarized in Table 1.
Hollow aluminum tubes of 32mm outer diameter and 320mm, 640 mm and 960 mm
length and 1mm wall thickness were used as model piles. Piles were threaded at the
top to fasten them to the pile cap by aluminum bolt. The pile caps are made up
aluminum material of 10mm thickness.
In compressive load testing, compressive loads are directly applied on the pile
cap such that the resultant of load applied passes through the centre of the pile cap.
Successive loading on pile cap are continued till the substantial settlement occur in
pile. The dial gauges are placed at equal distance from the centre of pile cap. A MS
frame attached to the model tank serves as a reaction frame and also facilitates the
placing of dial gauges and other accessories. Similarly, in pull out tests, uplift load is
applied by double pulley arrangements as shown in Figure 4.
In order to find the load distribution along the pile shaft, the piles are
instrumented with strain gauges glued to the interior walls of the piles. In the present
study, the aluminum model piles are spitted into two pieces. Strain gauges are placed
along the length of the piles at the chosen locations. The splitted pile pieces are
connected by aluminum screws at the top and aluminum cap at the bottom. Thin layer
of waterproofing material is used along the split line of pile to avoid the entry of soil
or water into the pile. The strain gauges are connected to the strain indicator to record
the strain during testing.
Table 1.Properties of the soil
Testing Programme
Specific gravity 2.65 Clay %, (<2) 61 In order to quantify
Liquid Limit 80% Silt %, (<75) 36 the load carrying
Plastic Limit 25% Activity 1.05 capacity of single pile
Plasticity Index 55% Group Index CH under compressive as
Density kN/m3 16.6 Cohesion kN/m2 12.3 well as uplift load twenty
four (24) numbers of model tests have been carried out on model single piles
embedded in soft clay. The parameters used in the testing program are as follows:

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L/D( embedment length to diameter) =10, 20 and 30


Four time intervals have been used to study the time effect, 0 6hrs, 0
12hrs,0 18hrs, 0 24hrs
1. Wire rope
2. Aluminum strip
3. Pulley
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4. Compressive load
5. Magnetic base plate
6. Dial gauge
7. Pile cap
8. Pile
9. Model tank
10. Uplift load
11. Pulley

Figure 4. Experimental Set Up

Placement of Piles

Pile with pile cap was placed at the centre of empty circular tank by using
steel plate and C-clamps attachment. Highly disturbed soft clay was applied precisely
around the pile. Once the tank filled with soil the steel plate and C clamps
attachment were removed from the pile cap. Pile caps were placed above the level of
clay (foundation medium) surface in the tank to avoid the contribution of pile cap in
the load carrying capacity of piles.

EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

The pile load test on model piles embedded in soft clay has been performed
by applying static load by means of putting dead loads on pile so; there will not be
any fluctuation in loading on pile due to deformation of pile head during testing. Each
load increment is maintained constant which is about 1/20 of expected failure load of
pile. Figure 5 and 6 show the variation of load carrying capacity of pile with time
corresponding to installation of pile (assume time is zero when pile just install) for
compression and uplift condition respectively. The load carrying capacity of pile
increases with increase in L/D ratio from 10 to 30. From Figure 5, it is observed that
the compressive load carrying capacity increases from initial time period, but
decreases towards the time period of 18 24hr. The general myth is that with time
period the load carrying capacity of pile will increase and this is due to radial
consolidation of soil around the pile. However, when consolidation is taken place in
two modes i.e. self weight consolidation and radial consolidation, self weight
consolidation may produce excessive slip along the soil pile interface which may
cause decrease in pile load carrying capacity.
The percentage increase in compressive load carrying capacity of piles from
initial (0 6hr) to maximum compressive load carried by the pile at time between 0
to 24hr is about 62 %, 53 % and 10% for L/D ratio of 10, 20 and 30 respectively.
Percentage decreased from maximum load carried by the pile to further lowest

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decrease is about 32%, 33% and 22% for L/D ratio of 10, 20 and 30 respectively. In
Uplift condition pile possess similar trend of behavior as pile in compression. The
percentage increase in net uplift load carrying capacity from initial (0 6hr) to
maximum load carried by the pile at time between 0 to 24hr is about 90%, 67 % and
12% for L/D ratio of 10, 20 and 30 respectively. Percentage decreased from
maximum net uplift load carried by the pile to further lowest decrease is about 34%,
34% and 24% for L/D ratio of 10, 20 and 30 respectively.
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L30 L20 L10


300.00

250.00

200.00
Load (N)

150.00

100.00

50.00

0.00
0-6 0- 12 0 - 18 0 - 24
Time(Hours)

Figure 5. Variation of single piles load carrying capacity with time in


compressive load condition at various L/D ratio

In general, the load carrying capacity of pile in compression is more than


that in uplift. It is observed that the net uplift load carrying capacity is about 81 - 54
%, 89 -57%, 90 67%, 73% - 47% of load carrying capacity in compression for 0-6
hr, 0-12hr, 0 18hr and 0-24 hrs respectively for all L/D ratios.
L30 L20 L10
250.00

200.00

150.00
Load (N)

100.00

50.00

0.00
0-6 0- 12 0 - 18 0 - 24
Time(Hours)

Figure 6. Variation of single piles load carrying capacity with time in uplift
condition at various L/D ratio

Figure 7 and Figure 8 show the axial load distribution along the pile depth at
various L/D ratios and time intervals when pile attained ultimate load in compression
and uplift conditions respectively. Pile experienced more load than the load applied to
the pile from outside, that means the additional load are the load due to downdrag.

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Similar observation has been reported by Fellenius (2006); Fellenius. et al. (1972);
Briaud (1997); Bozozuk (1972); Bozozuk et al. (1978) and Miller and Lutenegger
(1997). The downdrag sometime is very high and this may be due to self weight
consolidation of soil. In case of L/D 20 and 30 the load distribution indicates that two
neutral planes are observed; one is at near top and another is at near bottom of the
piles.
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L10 - 0- 24hr L10 - 0 - 18hr L10 - 0 - 12hr L10 - 0 - 6hr L10 -0- 24hr L10 - 0 - 18hr L10 - 0 - 12hr L10 - 0 - 6hr
L30 - 0 - 24hr L30 - 0 - 18hr L30 - 0- 12hr L30 - 0 - 6hr L30 - 0- 24hr L30 - 0 - 18hr L30 -0 - 12hr L30 - 0 - 6hr
L20 - 0 - 24hr L20 - 0- 18hr L20 - 0- 12hr L20 - 0 - 6hr L20 - 0 - 24hr L20 - 0 - 18hr L20 - 0 - 6hr
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
0 0

100 100

200 200

Depth from top (mm)


Depth from top (mm)

300 300

400 400

500 500

600 600

700 700

800 800

900 900

1000 1000
Load (N) Load (N)

Figure 7. Axial load distribution along Figure 8. Axial load distribution along
the pile depth at various L/D ratio and the pile depth at various L/D ratio and
time interval when pile attained time interval when pile attained
ultimate load in compression ultimate load in compression condition
condition
Variations of negative and positive skin friction at ultimate load in compression and
uplift with depth are shown in Figure 9 and Figure10 respectively for different L/D
ratios and different time intervals. For L/D 10, the trend is similar to the Figure3 (d).
However, for L/D 20 and 30 it is fluctuating from negative to positive and again
positive to negative i. e. skin friction line intersects at three points to the depth axis,
which is not similar to conventional approach where skin friction line intersect depth
axis only ones.
For design perspective three different approaches have been suggested for the
calculation of ultimate skin friction of piles in clay. These
are , , . The is based on total stress
approach whereas , are based on effective stress approach
and pseudo effective stress approach respectively. has been widely used
in practice. In the Method, the unit skin friction resistance on the pile is
expressed as

Where,
= Undrained Cohesion
= Adhesion factor, which depends on the undrained strength of soil.

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Adhesion factor is a dimensionless parameter which decreases with increase


in the undrained strength. Figure 11 and Figure12 show the relationship between the
ratio of undrained cohesion/skin friction and total depth/length of pile at various L/D
ratios and time intervals when pile attained ultimate load in compression and uplift
condition respectively. The value of undrained cohesion was determined by UU
triaxial test. The detail laboratory test results conducted on foundation soil is given in
Table 1. The ratio of cohesion/skin Friction varies between 0.6 to 10. At the
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middle portion of pile this value is greater than 1 and at the bottom & top it is
between 0.6 to 1.

L10 -0 - 24hr L10 - 0 - 18hr L10 - 0- 12hr L10 - 0 - 6hr L10 - 0 - 24hr L10 - 0 - 18hr L10 -0 - 12hr L10 - 0 - 6hr
L30 - 0 - 24hr L30 - 0 - 18hr L30 - 0 - 12hr L30 - 0 - 6hr L30 - 0 - 24hr L30 - 0 - 18hr L30 - 0 - 12hr L30 - 0 - 6hr
L20 - 0 - 24hr L20 - 0- 18hr L20 - 0 - 6hr
L20 - 0 - 24hr L20 - 0 - 18hr L20 - 0- 12hr L20 - 0 - 6hr
-200 -150 -100 -50 0 50 100
-200 -150 -100 -50 0 50
0
0
100
100
200
200

Depth from top (mm)


Depth from tom (mm)

300
300
400
400
500
500
600
600

700 700

800 800

900 900
2 2
Skin Friction (kn/m ) Skin Friction (kn/m )
2
Figure 9. Skin friction (kN/m ) along Figure 10. Skin friction (kN/m2) along
the depth at various L/D ratio and time the depth at various L/D ratio and
interval when pile attained ultimate time interval when pile attained
load in compression condition ultimate load in uplift condition
L10 - 0 - 24hr L10 - 0 - 18hr L10 -0 - 12hr L10 - 0 - 6hr L10 - 0 - 24hr L10 - 0 - 18hr L10 - 0 - 12hr L10 - 0 - 6hr
L30 - 0 - 24hr L30 - 0 - 18hr L30 - 0-12hr L30 - 0 - 6hr L30 - 0 - 24hr L30 - 0 - 18hr L30 - 0 - 6hr L20 - 0 - 24hr
L20 - 0-24hr L20 - 0 - 18hr L20 - 0 - 12hr L20 - 0 - 6hr L20 -0- 18hr L20 - 0 - 6hr L-30-0-12

-25 -20 -15 -10 -5 0 5 10 15 -25 -20 -15 -10 -5 0 5 10 15


0 0

0.2 0.2

0.4 0.4
z/L

0.6
z/L

0.6

0.8
0.8

1
1
1.2
1.2
Cu/Skin Friction
Cu/Skin Friction

Figure 11. Cohesion/Skin friction versus Figure 12. Cohesion/Skin friction


Depth/Length of pile at various L/D versus Depth/Length of pile at various
ratio and time interval when pile L/D ratio and time interval when pile
attained ultimate load in compression attained ultimate load in uplift
condition condition

CONCLUSIONS

1. The load carrying capacity of pile with time increases to maximum at


certain time period from installation and than decreases and stabilizes in to
a minimum value.

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2. The increased in load carrying capacity of pile with time in soft soil
depends on L/D ratio of pile. Incase of higher L/D ratio percentage of
increased in load carrying capacity is less compared to smaller L/D ratio.
It also notices that the percentage decreased from the highest value to
minimum value is not affected by L/D ratio.
3. For L/D = 20 and 30, the skin friction line intersects at three points to the
depth axis.
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4. Pile load carrying capacity obtained for pile load test may be deceased by
30% for possible reduction in load carrying capacity with time.
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